Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Singing In The Rain

Hello everyone,

As you can tell by the time in between updates, I have been spending plenty of time relaxing, getting my toenails painted and having regular massages. (I wish....) Wow, I can't believe that October is flying by so quickly. My cooking adventures have been limited to making treats for choir, where I have been exploring anything relatively easy that can be made with pumpkin (two-ingredient Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Pie Dessert Squares, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares, etc.) Maybe pumpkin is just my latest pregnancy craving of choice.

The week after General Conference was super-busy, but it was great to have Dave back from his travels. I accompanied a lady here in Sherwood who was getting ready for the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions and some other big auditions. She wanted to get the nerves out of her new arias by singing them in some prep recitals at old folks homes. So I had a really great, fun, paid opportunity to do some real accompanying again.... which would have been great except that she scheduled all three recitals in one week. So I had a week of scrambling to find babysitters on three different afternoons, trying to get into performance clothes and look respectable on a weekday, go and play on random pianos with varying levels of in-tune-ness (one of which had an interesting key-clicking percussion feature) and then get the kids and try to pick without missing a beat. Yes, an exciting week. But it was fun and the audience was appreciative. We just had little setbacks like trying to wait for the care center "drama club" to get out before we could begin or trying to get the staff to postpone setting the tables with utensils while we were performing.

During the rest of the week, we threw in a parent-teacher conference for Jared, 3 days off of school for Jared and a field trip to the pumpkin patch, during which I realized with increasing frustration that despite my efforts to be a self-sufficient woman, my body increasingly objects to any imposition, however small (like a pumpkin....). So yes, I'm to that point where I basically can't lift or do anything useful requiring effort... and it ticks me off. Why should a little thing like being pregnant have to interfere with my ability to comfortably tote my children's pumpkins to the car? On Saturday, Dave and I took advantage of a little bit of sun in the midst of our weeks of rain and wet to work in the yard. We had a unit of mulch delivered to our driveway. I set out to prove that I am not useless and still can work with the best of them.... so I weeded while Dave shoveled and wheelbarrowed mulch and then I spread it around with a rake.... and I completely overdid it and put myself flat on the LoveSac with a backache for several hours that evening. It seems that not even determined effort can overcome the physical effects of pregnancy (like being winded from squatting and standing up again) and I had better learn to accept it before I do something stupid and hurt myself beyond bringing on acute exhaustion.

On Sunday the 14th we had yet another Sunday of primary program run-through, and it went pretty well. Then we had choir that afternoon and it was great! Apparently a few people actually read my email about being disconsolate at a turnout of 5 adults the previous week-- we had one of our best turnouts ever! (Of course, most of these people weren't there the next rehearsal, but it was at least temporarily exciting).

On Tuesday, Jared started a Mad Science after-school class. I figured I could handle something where I only have to pick him up at the end (instead of having to drop him of too....). So far he loves it. Their last class was on gravity, so he made a yo-yo ball out of a punching balloon, salt and rubber bands to take home. Definitely cool. On Tuesday morning, I started a 3-session "voice class" enrichment group, to help people who want to be better singers learn the basics of vocal technique. It was really, really fun. A few of the ladies looked at me funny (like, "You're not actually serious that you want me to do that, are you?") at some of the vocalises and exercises, but I think everyone enjoyed it, had fun, and maybe even learned something. And who knows, maybe they will come and support choir with their newfound mad singing skills.

On Friday I went to volunteer in Jared's classroom while Camryn was at preschool. I helped with reading groups. It was actually really fun to see what they were doing. They split the kids up into groups and had them read (as a group and then taking turns) a book about plants and answer comprehension questions. The book was more challenging than I expected (a pleasant surprise) and it was fun to see Jared, although he was not one of the three groups I worked with. I was so proud to see Jared happily sitting in a corner doing free-time reading in a chapter book until I saw his selection: "Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy." So much for great classic literature...

Speaking of literature, Jared and Camryn are both still into book-making. They staple a bunch of pages together and start writing (usually forgetting to fill in most of the pages in the middle). Jared's latest creation is "Ubowt Stars" (with pictures of stars all around the title words). It goes like this: "Chapter 1. Stars r sporcklee and shinee. I also woch stars. There or menee kindes uv stors. By Jared [Translation: Stars are sparkly and shiny. I also watch stars. There are many kinds of stars.] Although he did write "Chapter 2" on the inside, he hasn't brought us the next exciting installment yet. He has, however taken care of copyright concerns. On the back it says,
"Made in 2007. Made in ingglish."

Camryn has made a book called, "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus," with lots of pictures. The title page has a unique brand of spelling, but is still somewhat recognizable: "IIM THRIMEN TO BE LIC JEZ.(no spaces in the original)" The next pages have three girls with a sun; a portrait of Moroni on top of the temple; two stars with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" written in Camrynian all around them [HAW I WUDPR WUT YO R UP UBUV...-- with a much less decipherable spacing and some unconventional ordering of words]; and two other drawings.

On Friday night, we had a practice for the Primary Program and did our final run-through. So I spent yet another hour of jumping up and down, waving my song signs and trying vainly to get the Primary kids to look at me and sing instead of talking. We did a special musical number for "I Know that My Redeemer Lives." We were using a two-part SA arrangement and having the primary sing the first verse unison, a group of primary girls and their moms sing the second verse in parts and then for the 3rd verse having the primary kids sing the melody and the small group sing the harmony. This would have been great and wonderful and fabulous, except that we only had half of the moms for the rehearsal (none of whom sang the descant part) and the missing moms had their copies of the music with them so we only had 2-3 pieces of music for nine people. So we got through it, but not in a particularly glorious fashion.... Luckily, I have learned from having done this several times to not worry about inconsequential things like a train-wreck performance at the run-through (we had rehearsed it successfully at a previous date, so I at least had some hope). After only a minor amount of last minute changes, the run-through was done and the kids went off to watch a movie with popcorn.

On Sunday, the performance came around and it actually went well. The kids actually noticed when I held up the sign and signaled for them to stand up, they sang well (for the most part) and everybody actually showed up for the musical number, which went fine. We alsodid "Listen, Listen" with two sets of resonator bells and did a small group number of "Faith" with a flute. And it went well AND it's over! Jared and Camryn both said their parts ("This is called the great apostasy." and "I'm trying to be like Jesus by sharing my toys.") loudly and clearly. Jared didn't pick his nose the entire program and Camryn's only spontaneous contribution was improvising hand gestures to every song that she sang. Yes, an all-around successful performance. And I got to go to Relief Society when it was done for the first time since I've been released from Primary.

Going back to Saturday, Dave and I again attempted to get our yard ready for winter, despite dire forecasts of rain every single hour that day. At a point mid-morning when the rain let up, we set out with wheelbarrow, shovel and rakes to try to rid our driveway of the three-foot pile of mulch that had inhabited it for a week. Wisely, this time I limited myself to spreading the mulch and cleaning up the deck. Unfortunately, our back yard was soggy marshland from the previous week of rain, so it was difficult to get around in the yard without ruining the grass of getting ankle deep in mud. Yet we persevered. It started to rain a little bit, but we were undeterred. But then it started pouring. Dave went inside -like most normal people would. I, on the other hand, discovered that I actually have some of my dad in me. Why on earth would you go inside when you could keep working in the yard during a torrential downpour? (Although I guess I was gardening and cleaning up and not doing electrical wiring.) So I doggedly, determinedly stayed outside until all the mulch back there was spread and every piece of junk was cleared off of our deck. I was going to start chopping up some branches we had sitting in our side-yard to go in the yard recycle bin, but sanity did at last hit me again and I thought better of it and went inside. That night (after several successive unsuccessful attempts) we finally had a babysitter scheduled and went out on a date.

And so the weekend passed.... Monday dawned bright and.... sunny??? I took Camryn to preschool, ready to attack my dirty hand-dishes and scour my house. As soon as I came home -raring to go- from dropping her off, I... clonked on the LoveSac until 15 minutes before it was time to pick her up. And so our day got off to a vigorous start. I did eventually do my hand-dishes, before taking advantage of our temporary sun. Dave has been taking a class on "Managing Innovation" at work on Monday evenings this fall (I think they figured he might be bored so he'd want something to fill in some extra time). So a friend (who also has a husband who was working late) and I took our kids to the pumpkin patch and to the park, then had family home evening and got Quizno's for dinner. (Note: You would think that taking your kids out to dinner instead of cooking at home would be nice and relaxing, but we spent the first 15 minutes we were there trying to keep the kids from grabbing chips until we were sure they came with a kids meal, trying to get an order out of them while they were running around playing hopscotch on the colored tiles, and then trying to actually read and comprehend what was on the menu-- in between demands for chips or juice-- enough to order something ourselves. We did eventually overcome these obstacles and succeed in getting everyone food and having a fun time.)

And there we are. Hope you all are having a great week. Love,


Quotes of the Week:

(when we were going to Costco)
Jared: "Mom, I want to buy some cobweb decorations for Halloween. Let's get them at Costco."
Me: Jared, I'm pretty sure they don't have cobwebs at Costco." [we drive into Costco parking lot] Wow, the parking lot is full.
Jared: Maybe they do have cobwebs.
Jared: "That sign says, "Take home a fresh pizza."
Camryn: "Daddy, I like it when you go to work, but when you are at Singapore I miss you!"
Jared goes to Hopkins Elementary School. The "Hopkins Hawks" have three rules: Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible. One day Jared was THRILLED because he got a "Hawk High-5" for sitting still and listening during class. At home, he tried to tell me how exciting the was and what the three rules were about. Jared:"Mom, you have to be safe, respectful and responsible. Safe means that you don't run in the hallways so you don't knock anyone over. Respectful means that you aren't mean to people. Responsible means that you really want a "Hawk High-5."
Jared:"Dad, what's 'The Office'?"
Dad: "It's a show about work."
Jared: "Oh. I don't know anything about work." [I'll second that!]
Jared filled out a self-evaluation sheet for his parent-teacher conference:
Things I do well...." "writing, studying, sitting quietly" [...really?]
Things that are hard for me... "Not getting glue on my fingers. not scrieecing" [not screeching]
Goals: "Penguins, building"
Academic: "Science"
Social: "Bing nice"
Jared found a piece of paper for making shopping lists. It says "Things I Need" at the top. He filled it out, along with his name...

Shinee rocks [shiny rocks]
yumee stuf [Yummy stuff]
a drivres lisins [a drivers license]
MY own Mashis [My own matches]
A bosr [a bouncer]
Rele hockee [real hockey]

P.S. I have included scans of Camryn's picture of Moroni on the temple, Jared's "Things I Need" list, and the front page of Jared's star book.

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